Hearthstone Through the Eyes of a Warcraft Priest

Heal the world.

"The Light shall bring victory!" my priest declares, and my heart swells with anticipation as I examine the cards I have been dealt. The cry comes from Blizzard's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and is a link to a universe I have followed for nearly half my life. It reminds me that I am not playing just any card game, but a card game connected to one of gaming's most storied franchises.

It was the familiar connection to World of Warcraft which spurred my initial curiosity in Hearthstone. Despite possessing little experience in the card game genre, I hoped that the knowledge gained from countless hours in World of Warcraft would find use again in Hearthstone.

Much to my delight, Hearthstone's class-themed decks feature not only recognisable characters, but familiar class-specific talents to go with them. All World of Warcraft classes (sans the Death Knight and Monk) are present in Hearthstone as choices around which to model my deck's theme. From Anduin the priest's healing skill to Garrosh the warrior's armor buff, each class possesses unique abilities and minions which were mostly present in the Warcraft games. Indeed, the all-too-familiar sound of the priest's lesser heal was enough to evoke fond memories of a summer lost to questing in Azeroth.

Surprisingly, it was my experiences in World of Warcraft that made it easy to determine which deck themes suited me best. Sticking with the familiar, I begun by crafting decks using classes I was well-versed in utilising; the priest and the paladin. How much could the abilities of these World of Warcraft classes' transfer to a game that has its move sets comprised entirely of cards? According to Blizzard, a lot.

As in World of Warcraft, the priest class in Hearthstone has access to the ability to heal himself and allies. Playing the priest, my focus was to play defensively by managing health points and buffing minions. The healing-focused play style I adopted resonated with my experiences in World of Warcraft, where I applied the same priest skills to ensure the survival of myself and my comrades. Sure, hitting a key to cast the area-of-effect spell Holy Nova in World of Warcraft was not exactly the same as throwing down a Holy Nova card in Hearthstone, but the effects of the spell are almost identical in both games.

Healing wasn't the only option available to priests in World of Warcraft however, and the same rings true for the priest class in Hearthstone. The option to build a Shadow deck which focuses on damage-dealing parallels the ability of the same name in World of Warcraft. Staying true to Warcraft lore, assuming Shadowform in Hearthstone sacrifices healing abilities for damage-dealing skills.

Access to an array of healing spells compelled me to craft a deck of minions who would benefit the most from my healing- and buffing- focused playstyle, leading to battles which felt almost akin to taking part in a World of Warcraft dungeon raid. My priest would hide behind minions with taunt, heal the injured minions, and buff the attacking minions as necessary. In short, I had adopted the role as healer so that I could help achieve the greater goal of defeating the enemy.

It was the paladin class in which I found a change of pace. Like his World of Warcraft counterpart, the paladin in Hearthstone has access to a variety of class-specific heal and buff cards. Blizzard has even reproduced the infamous paladin skill Divine Shield in Hearthstone; an ability which grants temporary invulnerability to a target.

The ability to play the paladin as an all-rounder was what originally attracted me to the class in World of Warcraft, and the same options ring true in Hearthstone. In World of Warcraft I favoured having the ability to heal my character, but I also enjoyed the capability to dish out heavy damage. By possessing the ability to heal, buff minions or equip weapons to attack directly, Hearthstone's paladin felt suited to my flexible approach to the game.

Although the paladin class possesses a number of new skills exclusive to Hearthstone, its playstyle still managed to strike a familiar chord with the World of Warcraft player in me. As a paladin I was able to adopt the tactic of prolonging my life in matches and disrupting my opponents' attacks.

Strip away the coat of Warcraft paint, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a card game which eases in first-timers and offers a number of different playstyles through the choice of classes. Although World of Warcraft and Hearthstone share few gameplay mechanics, Blizzard's efforts to recreate classes and skills in the latter result in card-themed battles which exude a familiarity that fans of the Warcraft franchise can easily identify with.

Admittedly, I did experience palpitations upon seeing Anduin Wrynn as a young adult. I will always remember him as the pint-size boy-king of Stormwind, manipulated by Onyxia in human form. It was these small touches reflecting the story progression in the Warcraft universe that served as a nice reminder of where my love for the series all began.

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Zorine

Zorine Te

Zorine “harli” Te is an Associate Editor at GameSpot and is based in Australia.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

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26 comments
Goddammitj
Goddammitj

I lose every goddamn battle. I never thought that I might be stupid, but now Im seriously considering it. Im a mage btw, hoping its seriously unbalanced so I can once again sleep in peace.

Dieknochenblume
Dieknochenblume

Never played WoW but I've played a lot of Magic: The Gathering, and this is a very VERY simple form of Magic. Each turn you get free crystals (mana) so you'll only get creatures, sorceries, equipment, whatsoever from draws. Therefore, it's very easy to just manage what you get. No need to worry about mana curves, instants or special rules, so the game is very fun and simple in this way.

megakick
megakick

Games is OK... I just don't like how fatigue works and the mana point system would be nice if there was more chance and randomness. The game is open beta ATM and players are already spending money, wait...

Cesium-133
Cesium-133

I find this game (so-far, open and closed beta) to have a runaway leader problem. Not really fun to play tbh.

Lucas Golin
Lucas Golin

Priest is by far the worst class in the current meta.

Shane Lee Spritefire Robinson
Shane Lee Spritefire Robinson

Just watched the vid. Most of it was trying to connect between games. Lots of talking trying to fill in time and both people looked bored by the end, that said if you had webcam chat between friends instead of text chat that could be an improvement.. considering its 2014.

Alexander IkeaSwede Eriksson
Alexander IkeaSwede Eriksson

priests shadow word spells does feel like they're a bit too much as priest you essentially have 4 instakill minion spells AND two "mind controll spells" - not to mention the amount of buffs you have as a priest Priest is the class I have the most hard playing against, it very well might just be that I suck - but it's the feeling I have atleast

crix01
crix01

I'm not versed on Warcraft lore so i got my ass kicked several times.

SniffleSniffle
SniffleSniffle

Nice read, ahhh.. the memories of time and money going to waste on WoW.


Hope they make an Sc2 card game haha!

djames216
djames216

I've never played WoW or any other Warcraft game but i am playing this. I've been playing since the European open beta launch (so not long) and I find it so addictive. It has that "just one more go" syndrome. I was very familiar with the game before I started playing though as I have watched numerous matches on YouTube. I haven't played all the classes yet but I'm currently favouring Hunter. I also like the humourous presentation littered throughout - the amusing war cries of some of the minions for example.

Prostakma
Prostakma

hearthstone through the eyes of me: "My eyes are open O.O"

jeddawey
jeddawey

Thanks zorine. I too watching you and erik play reminded of the old days of wow.

trying to download the game as there seem to be a server problem with the downloader. excited to play it with my friends.

crix01
crix01

Old brunette Zorine..

Whiskey3romeo
Whiskey3romeo

Hearthstone through the eyes of me.


Lost connection to server.

Lost connection to server.

Lost connection to server.

Lost connection to server.........

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

@megakick  How often to you draw all 30 cards?  I've seen it maybe twice in about 30 hours.

crix01
crix01

Lovely in any color :)

Whiskey3romeo
Whiskey3romeo

@Bexorcist @Whiskey3romeo StarCraft and Diablo don't disconnect after 5 minutes.  Nor does BF4, Killzone, Halo, COD, nor every other game I play on every platform I own. 


So that's not the problem.


Maybe Blizzard should get some tips from Yahoo on how to operate servers.  Their silly card and board games don't disconnect after 5 minutes, either.